December 16-18, 2020
February 3, 2021 – Division I: April 1, 2021 & Division II: August 1, 2021
The NCAA manages the daily operations of the NLI program while the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) provides governance oversight of the program. Started in 1964 with seven conferences and eight independent institutions, the program now includes 657 Division I and Division II participating institutions.
The NLI is a voluntary program with regard to both institutions and student-athletes. No prospective student-athlete or parent is required to sign the NLI and no institution is required to join the program.
The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution.
The penalty for not fulfilling the NLI agreement: A student-athlete has to serve one year in residence (full-time, two semesters or three quarters) at the next NLI member institution and lose one season of competition in all sports.
An important provision of the NLI program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs the NLI. This prohibition requires member institutions to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once an NLI is signed with another institution.
“Grayshirting” is a term used in the recruiting process to describe situations in which a student-athlete delays initial enrollment in a collegiate institution to the winter or spring term after the traditional academic year begins. Student-athletes who “grayshirt” often use the fall term to take part-time classes or choose to not enroll in college at all.
“Grayshirting” is not a formal designation by the NCAA or the NLI program. If you decide to delay your initial enrollment provided you were eligible to enroll, your NLI remains binding. If a coach or the institution’s admission office asks you to delay your enrollment and you were eligible to enroll, the institution is obligated to honor your athletics aid if you wish to attend the institution. Should you want to attend another NLI member institution due to the coach or institution delaying your enrollment, your NLI will be declared null and void.